The Victoria Police Department is urging residents to be aware of virtual kidnapping scams. (Black Press Media file photo)

The Victoria Police Department is urging residents to be aware of virtual kidnapping scams. (Black Press Media file photo)

Recent incident a good reminder of virtual kidnapping scams taking place in Victoria

Victoria police urge residents to be aware and report any incidents

The Victoria Police Department is warning the public after an increase in “virtual kidnapping” reports.

On Sunday, April 18, officers were called to the 100-block of Harbour Road after a report of a suspicious circumstance involving a woman. Officers spoke with the woman and learned she had been the victim of a virtual kidnapping scam.

Six days earlier, according to police, the woman was contacted by an individual speaking Mandarin who claimed to be a member of the Chinese police. She was convinced she needed to send money and other personal information to the scammer in order to protect her family in China. The person then used that information to convince the woman’s family in China that she was being held for ransom. The scam was interrupted before any money was transferred.

ALSO READ: VicPD expands online reporting to keep 911 call-takers free during pandemic

This incident serves as a reminder of the scam, which often targets the Chinese community says VicPD.

According to a statement from the department, perpetrators of these crimes often target people from mainland China who are in their early 20s and are in Canada on a student visa. The victim receives a phone call in the form of a recorded message from a number that often appears to be from the Chinese Consulate or another Chinese authority. If the target responds to the message, they are informed there is either a warrant for their arrest in China or the police need their help with an investigation. As part of the extortion, the scammer often convinces the victim to make fake videos or send photographs indicating they’ve been kidnapped or are a victim of a crime. These materials are sent to the victim’s family, who in turn, are extorted for money.

Locally, major crime unit detectives have investigated several virtual kidnapping files. In at least one file, significant amounts of money have been extorted from worried families. VicPD notes in addition to the cost of police resources utilized in these files, they also carry an emotional cost to the victims and their families.

The local department reiterated Chinese police cannot make arrests in Canada, all policing related to contact from the Chinese government will be done through local police, and the Canadian or Chinese authorities will not ask you to destroy a phone or takes photos or videos of yourself pretending to be a victim of a crime.

VicPD is urging anyone who has been contacted by someone claiming to be from a Chinese authority to call its non-emergency line at 250-995-7654.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

VicPD

Just Posted

Victoria police officers used less-lethal weapons to arrest a woman Sunday night after she allegedly attacked a man with a hammer. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria police use less-lethal weapons on woman following hammer attack

Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team called to barricade situation

The District of Saanich has pinpointed funding requests to Oak Bay and Victoria to help offset the purchase price of the Kings Park greenspace and keep the property intact. (Courtesy District of Saanich)
Saanich requests funding help from neighbours to preserve Kings Road green space

District hopes Victoria and Oak Bay will join them in protecting urban green space

Victoria police are looking for Delmer Esau who was last seen in Esquimalt June 1. (Photo courtesy of VicPD)
MISSING: Search continues for man last seen in Esquimalt

Delmer Esau, 35, hasn’t been seen since June 1

Thriving Toots Wilderness School is trying to buy a 98-acre plot of undeveloped land from the Boys and Girls’ Club of Greater Victoria in Metchosin. (Contributed/Thriving Roots)
Hopeful buyers of Boys and Girls’ Club land in Metchosin would keep it wild

Nature-based school, partners trying to secure financing to buy 98-acre property: school director

A temporary urgent and primary care centre will open in Esquimalt this week, offering residents more health care options in their own community. (Black Press Media file)
Esquimalt’s temporary urgent and primary care centre to open Monday

The Esquimalt Health Unit will house the temporary site, permanent location opening in December

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Cruise ship passengers arrive at Juneau, Alaska in 2018. Cruise lines have begun booking passengers for trips from Seattle to Alaska as early as this July, bypassing B.C. ports that are not allowed to have visitors until March 2022 under a Canadian COVID-19 restrictions. (Michael Penn/Juneau Empire)
B.C. doesn’t depend on U.S. law to attract cruise ships, Horgan says

Provinces to get update next week on Canada’s border closure

This undated photo provided by Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails shows a scout donating cookies to firefighters in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, as part of the Hometown Heroes program. As the coronavirus pandemic wore into the spring selling season, many Girl Scout troops nixed their traditional cookie booths for safety reasons. That resulted in millions of boxes of unsold cookies. (Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails via AP)
Thinner Mints: Girl Scouts have millions of unsold cookies

Since majority of cookies are sold in-person, pandemic made the shortfall expected

In this artist’s sketch, Nathaniel Veltman makes a video court appearance in London, Ont., on June 10, 2021 as Justice of the Peace Robert Seneshen (top left) and lawyer Alayna Jay look on. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alexandra Newbould
Terror charges laid against London attack suspect

Crown says Nathaniel Veltman’s four counts of first-degree murder constitute an act of terrorism

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province's fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

Most Read